Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Review: Forever Amber by Kathleen Winsor




I finished this novel two weeks ago as part of a read-along. As I look at the cover while typing this I cant help but smile. This 972 page book is the type of read I love diving into!


If you’ve seen my update  posts, you will know what a thrilling emotional roller coaster this book is. Forever Amber is a snapshot of a period of history: the court of King Charles the II. The story opens in 1660 in the village of MaryGreen. A small hamlet where Amber has grown up and a place she is desperate to escape.


When she meets Lord Bruce Carlton Amber thinks she is saved. She uses all her allurements to accompany Bruce to London. Amber is a fascinating character. She flits from emotions, needs and goals like a butterfly. She focuses all her energy on Bruce yet she cannot keep him. Bruce is an enigma through out this whole novel. I spent so much time being frustrated with him! Yes Amber stumbles into a series of bad relationships and monetary highs and lows, but she is always honest about her feelings, brutally honest.


For Bruce their is such a fluctuation in his actions that I felt resentful towards his ability to walk in and out of Amber’s life unscathed. He always leaves her just enough rope to keep her obsession constant. Even his marriage is no obstacle to their continuing affair.


The true star of this novel is the city of London itself. When Charles returns he brings a mode of lifestyle that is embraced by the entire court. There is excess in everything: food, fashion and interpersonal relationships. The intrigues of the court are every evolving as loyalties and lovers are as changeable as the fashions.


Amber thrives in this network of lust and intrigue. Through her life we see the glory and pageantry of the theatre , the plague, the Great Fire of London as well as the power wielded by the King’s mistress.


This book is an obsessive page turner! Historical fiction fans will love seeing a period of history come alive. Winsor is a master at narrative and historical detail. She also shifts the narrative to several characters including King Charles.

Amber however will be a character you will either love or hate. It’s amazing how I shifted from finding her utterly relatable, to  detesting her!

It was a joy to be introduced to this book by my fellow blogger MICHELLE. I will definitely be reading another of Winsor’s books.

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